1 day itinerary to Kobe, Japan

Posted on September 16, 2017

Kobe (神戸, Kōbe) is know for their world famous local brand of marbled wagyu meat. Here are the things to do and see for a day trip!

Getting to Kobe

There are three main train stations in Kobe-Sannomiya Station, Kobe Station and Shin-Kobe Station. Surprisingly, the busiest train station is Sannomiya Station, located at the center of the city, near most of the attractions. Attractions in Central Kobe are located close to each other so it is possible to cover them by foot.

Kobe Chinatown (Nankinmachi)

Nankinmachi, which is Kobe’s Chinatown, is located a 10 minute walk away from Kobe-Sannomiya Station. Try the Kobe beef. Good option and much less than the price you would pay for at a restaurant.

Another unique destination worth adding to your sightseeing activities is Kobe’s renowned Chinatown. Kobe’s Chinatown, or Nankinmachi, was founded in 1868 at the beginning of the Meji Restoration, and is one of the first designated “foreign” neighborhoods in Japan following the end of the 200 year old isolationist foreign policy.

Nankinmachi is touted as the most colorful of the Chinatowns in Japan, boasting festive streets lined with interesting little shops, mahjong clubs, and delectably adventurous dining opportunities. If you can find the right street vendor, I recommend the deep fried scorpion on a stick; it tastes just like shrimp. But even if arachnids aren’t to your taste, the delicious varieties of steamed and fried dumplings, known as gyoza, are sure to satiate your appetite for the exotic.

The pork buns (肉まん nikuman) from Roshoki (老祥記) are an absolute must-try. The juicy oily buns have a rich filling and a thin white dough layer. They are only 90 yen for one but many in the snaking line outside the store get 10 or 30 to go.

Motomachi Shopping Street

The North entrance of Nankinmachi is connected with the Motomachi Shopping Street, a fully covered shopping arcade lined with over 300 shops and restaurants, including shops that are centuries old.

Kobe Animal Kingdom

¥1,100, also Portliner ¥830 to Kei Computer-Mae Station.

Animal cafes

There are neko (cat) cafes, dog cafes, and owl cafes all around Japan offering tickets for 2000 yen per person, for 1 hour. You can stay here for the same price or less all day. Yen-for-yen this is the best deal I’ve seen.

Kobe Mt. Maya (Closer) and Kobe Mt. Rokko (further)

Rokko/Arima 1 day pass (2460 Yen). Take The Ropeway to Mount Rokko, highest peak in Kobe. You can see all the way to Osaka from the summit. Go to botanical gardens, garden terrace and more. Grab a local beer in the cafe at the top and sit by the window for a truly spectacular view.

Arima Onsen

For Y2,470 (about US$20), you can get admission, plus the train tickets from Kobe-Shinkansen. One of the oldest and well known hot spring in Japan located an hour away from Osaka. Kinsen (Gold spring) and clear hot spring called Ginsen (Silver spring). Kin no Yu, 650 yen, a small indoor bathhouse with two pools. Taikou no Yu is one of the best in Arima Onsen.

Kobe City Hall (Observation Deck)

Free, next to Sannomiya Station. 24th floor, elevator is marked red. first one on the left once you enter the building and make your way through the lobby.

Kobe City Oji Zoo

600 yen

Ikuta Shrine

5 minutes walk from Kobe Station. Possibly one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan.  It was founded in the 3rd Century by Empress Jingu, and is dedicated to the god Wakahirume. The Ikuta Shrine was a pivotal location during the Genpei War, and its history is retold in traditional Japanese Noh Theater. Performances of the plays, Ebira and Ikuta Atsumori, can be seen during the annual fall festival, Akimatsuri.

Kitano-cho

A district of foreigner settlements. Unique mansions (aka Injikan) now public museums, each with its own admission fee 550-750 yen; combination tickets are available. The most recognisable of the Injikan is Weathercock House, which is a great place for photos.

Food

Tor Road Steak Aoyama Family run, one of the best places I’ve ever been. Five courses cost 6,500 Yen.

Kobe Harbourland

Shopping and entertainment district between JR Kobe Station and the waterfront of Kobe’s port area. The district offers a large selection of shops, restaurants, cafes and other amusements. The most prominent shopping complex in Kobe Harborland is Umie which consists of three parts: Mosaic, South Mall and North Mall.

Mosaic

There are little shops around the area.

Kobe Port Tower

Want a bird’s eye view? Built in 1963, this hyperboloidally shaped lattice marvel stands 108m over the port, allowing for stunning panoramic views of both the city and the sea. The Kobe Port Tower is located near the Kobe Maritimes Museum, and it’s only a short walk to the Hanshin Earthquake Memorial Park. At night the tower is lit in a rainbow of colors, truly a feast for the eyes.

Nunobiki Park

When you’ve tired of the bright city lights and noisy, bustling crowds, or if you’re a connoisseur of nature’s flare for sublime aesthetics, then take the train to Shin-Kobe Station and make your way to Nunobiki Park. The interior of the park creates the illusion of having left the city for the tranquility of a quiet mountain grove.

Despite being located fairly close to downtown, visitors to Nunobiki Park report feeling like they are much farther away. But the tranquility of the park is just the beginning of this location’s charm. Tucked away in the corner of the park is the breathtaking Nunobiki Falls. Considered to be among Japan’s “divine” waterfalls, Nunobiki Falls is frequently a muse for Japanese poetry, and it is mentioned in the Tales of Ise.

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